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David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cataract operations were carried out by the NHS in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and what the current waiting time is for a cataract operation in Northern Ireland. 
Information on the number of cataract operations carried out in acute hospitals in Northern Ireland in each year from 200001 to 200405 (the latest year for which data are available) is shown in the table as follows.
23 Nov 2005 : Column 1980W
|Number of cataract operations|
|Months waiting||Position at 30 June 2005|
Mr. Hanson: The Northern Ireland Child Support Agency is awaiting the final details of the Great Britain strategic review, which is being led by Stephen Geraghty, chief executive of the Child Support Agency in Great Britain. When this information is available an improvement plan for the Northern Ireland Agency will be developed.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the funding for the Children's Fund set out in the budget for Northern Ireland is new money; and when the executive programme funds will be reinstated. 
Angela E. Smith: Yes. The allocations for the Children and Young People's priority funding package represent additional resources, as opposed to the reallocation of money previously allocated to other public services within Northern Ireland.
There are no plans to reinstate the Executive Programme Funds (EPFs). However, the three priority funding packages announced in the Draft Priorities and Budget 200608 will build on the positive aspects of the EPFs, in that they are focused on priority areas and will encourage a cross-cutting approach to the underlying issues.
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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the letter of 17 October ref: (COR403/2005) to the hon. Lady for North Down, on Kingsland School, when he will write to the hon. Lady with the update indicated in his letter. 
Angela E. Smith: Due to the complex nature of this case it has been necessary for the Department to seek legal advice. A response will be issued to the hon. Lady when the Department has considered the legal advice to be provided.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will reply to the letter of 26 September 2005 from the hon. Lady for North Down on mattress provision for myalgic encephalomyelitis in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Hanson: The primary source of funding for local voluntary advice services, including Citizens Advice Bureaux, is the Community Support Programme. This is a joint initiative involving the Department for Social Development (DSD) and District Councils. The following table outlines each Council's contribution to local advice services in 200405, this includes both Citizens Advice Bureaux and other independent advice providers. The DSD allocation is also included for information.
|Community support programmefunding to advice services in 200405|
|Antrim borough council||48,991||42,991||6,000|
|Ards borough council||69,000||43,000||26,000|
|Armagh city and district council||46,500||26,500||20,000|
|Ballymena borough council||43,000||30,791||12,209|
|Ballymoney borough council||16,000||11,927||4,073|
|Banbridge district council||69,500||39,500||30,000|
|Belfast city council||312,314||203,004||109,310|
|Carrickfergus borough council||42,720||42,720||0|
|Castlereagh borough council||31,500||22,050||9,450|
|Coleraine borough council||63,652||52,154||11,498|
|Cookstown district council||50,000||15,000||35,000|
|Craigavon borough council||97,850||86,520||11,330|
|Derry city council||175,000||175,000||0|
|Down district council||145,399||120,148||25,251|
|Dungannon district council||49,183||33,266||15,917|
|Fermanagh district council||66,000||44,000||22,000|
|Larne borough council||20,357||11,702||8,655|
|Limavady borough council||26,500||18,500||8,000|
|Lisburn City council||50,000||10,000||40,000|
|Magherafelt district council||49,000||25,000||24,000|
|Moyle district council||11,500||8,113||3,387|
|Newry and Mourne district council||95,000||65,000||30,000|
|Newtownabbey borough council||168,952||150,257||18,695|
|North Down borough council||106,582||80,477||26,105|
|Omagh district council||46,600||46,600||0|
|Strabane district council||48,200||22,450||25,750|
Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what financial assistance has been given to citizens' advice bureaux in Northern Ireland by Government departments in each year since 2001. 
Mr. Hanson: The primary source of funding for local voluntary advice services, including Citizens Advice Bureaux, is the Community Support Programme. This is a joint initiative involving the Department for Social Development (DSD) and District Councils. Other Government Departments provide specific funding to organisations to deliver advice services on issues which fall within their policy responsibility. The table outlines Government funding to Citizens Advice Bureaux in the financial years from 200102 to 200405.
|Name of Department||200102||200203||200304||200405||Total|
|Department for Social Development (DSD) (3)||984,199||993,551||1,195,329||1,190,206||4,363,285|
|Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI)||||||||69,000||69,000|
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of starting salaries of civil servants in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: Starting salaries for new recruits in the Northern Ireland Civil Service are relative to what is necessary to recruit, retain and motivate staff. A new member of staff is usually recruited at the minimum of the pay scale unless there are business reasons to justify a higher starting salary (e.g. because of market forces or the applicant having relevant additional qualifications and/or experience).
Starting pay for new recruits in the National Assembly for Wales is normally at the pay scale minimum unless the skills, knowledge and experience essential for the post justify a higher starting salary.
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